Trojans’ Lee could play both ways

LOS ANGELES – On the plane ride back to Los Angeles following
the USC’s win at Utah last month, wide receiver Marqise Lee begged and
pleaded with head coach Lane Kiffin to allow him to play defense.

It appears, more than a month later, the sophomore wide receiver may
have gotten his wish. He could hit the field on defense as early as this
Saturday against Arizona State, USC head coach Lane Kiffin announced on
Thursday.

“We’ve looked at some different situations of putting him over there to help us out,” Kiffin said.  

The Trojans head coach wouldn’t say exactly what those “situations” are
but it could very well be the shot in the arm the Trojans secondary
needs.

The second cornerback spot has been problematic for the Trojans all
season long and Lee could be a help there in certain situations.

“I think we’re always trying to find different ways to use Marqise,”
Kiffin said. “Hopefully (with) the speed of this game not being like the
last two… there may be some that may present itself Saturday.”

Kiffin has pondered putting Lee on defense but previously mentioned he
didn’t want to because he didn’t want to take away from what Lee was
able to do on offense as “one of the best players in the country.”

With this new opportunity, Lee has the chance to be one of the best two-way players in the country.

Not only could it be the shot in the arm the defense needs, but it could also be a shot in the arm to Lee’s Heisman candidacy.

The school released a video on Wednesday promoting Lee as a candidate
for the Heisman Trophy as well as the Biletnikoff, Maxwell, and Hornung
Awards.

Lee has 877 all-purpose yards over the last two weeks lifting his total
to 2,007 all-purpose yards for the season. He leads the nation with 223
all-purpose yards per game.

He’s had an improbable rise from a virtual unknown as a wide receiver
to, arguably, college football’s best in just over one and a half
seasons.

Lee was a top flight recruit as a safety coming out of Gardena’s Serra
High School. During his junior year, when he was a teammate of current
Trojans Robert Woods and George Farmer, Lee was no higher than sixth on
the depth chart at wide receiver. Colorado standout Paul Richardson Jr.
was also on that team.

Lee is now mentioned with the likes of West Virginia’s Tavon Austin and
Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas as one of the most exciting players in
college football.

He’s the Trojans leading receiver with 88 receptions, 1,286 yards, and 12 touchdowns.

If he adds some interceptions, he just might be making a trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy Presentation next month.